[CQ-Contest] I watch with interest, but with great sadness

Leigh S. Jones, KR6X kr6x at kr6x.com
Wed Feb 13 13:04:26 EST 2002

QST magazine used to print the DXCC listings once each month.  When
they first began this practice there were no DXCC members yet, only a
race to be the first, and the race was quite limited in number of entrants.
In those days, I was told, the average ham picked up the magazine and
skipped directly to the DXCC listings page for his first half hour or so of
reading.  The same 3-4 callsigns over and over.

QST and the ARRL grew up on reporting "Section News", which was 
basically anything the SCM wanted to report -- usually the traffic handled
by section ORS stations together with short notes about Bessie the cow 
knocking down Jake's dipole and news of the upcoming swap meet.
Anything that came in on those little cards we all used to mail.  Reams 
and reams of it.  Then there was the DX News.  Although some of the
best content in QST was in the DXHPDS report, a lot of the DX News
was tired reporting about how some WB6 worked KH6 regularly on 40.
We can certainly trace the present move to cut contest coverage out of 
the magazine to those little post cards and the reputation QST got for 
printing all of that stuff.

Really, the problem at HQ right now was reflected in the move to get out
of the business of issuing the DXCC certificate.  Someone at HQ 
complains about the money it's costing to review QSL card submissions
at ARRL division conventions.  Some HQ staffers actually are reimbursed
for airline tickets and hotel rooms and lunches.  Word gets around to the
Board, and they have to decide whether to cut the DXCC certificate out
of the ARRL program.  Since it's a coin toss whether they have been
informed correctly over the issue, it's a coin toss how they'll decide.

So the DXCC certificate is in danger of elimination.  Someone produces
data that says the cost of sending HQ staffers to the convention isn't
being offset by all of the money being spent by DXers on their DXCC
stamps.  Someone produces statistics saying that only a fraction of the
ARRL members have DXCC certificates -- therefore certainly only a 
fraction must believe that the ARRL should continue to underwrite the
cost of administration of the DXCC program.  How's DXCC going to
survive in this climate?

So one by one the ARRL is considering eliminating each of the programs
that made the ARRL great.  Step by step the stature of the ARRL is cut
down by this shortsightedness until finally all services to members are 
gone except perhaps the book sales -- they pay for themselves.  Then 
pretty soon the stature of the ARRL is so low that Wayne Green could buy

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